Open Novella Contest and more!


Doing this on my phone so it’s a little weird with the formatting options.

Dark humor, but with a flippant ridiculous side.

Because my novella is a satirical fairytale and is inspired by Good Omens, Monty Python, and Arrested Development. And I like writing things that make people laugh and hopefully think as well.

Biggest Struggle in first 2k:
This book has a bit of a cast of characters. In the first 2k the Queen struggles with the prospect of eternal virginity and summons The Dark Lord.

Biggest Struggle in rest of book:
Gerald struggles with a fate he never wanted.
Rose struggles to figure out who she really is outside of the expectations placed on her.
Arien struggles to not make an ass of himself.

Most definitely! I love the shorter requirements for this since I’ve been struggling to finish my first novel. This felt so much easier to get to. I think when it’s all edited I’ll be at around the 38k mark, but it was vastly easier than trying to get out a whole novel. I also love that I had zero expectations with this book except writing something that made me laugh along the way, and it’s turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. Others have seemed to enjoy it too which is awesome.

Most Enjoyable aspect:
Thinking up ridiculous elements to throw in the footnotes.

Most Challenging:
Walking the line between completely ridiculous and still crafting a good and interesting story that pulls readers in and gets them invested in the characters.

“OY! You lot are supposed to be attacking with us,” yelled their leader, Misgov.

“Well, you see, I think there’s been a bit of a mixup,” said a large elf wielding a broadsword. “It’s against our morality clause for any union member to engage in violence.”

“What are you talking about Elias?” Demanded Misgov, “I’m not aware of any unionist morality clause, and you’re carrying a weapon. What did you think you were going to do here, answer customer service requests? You work for the Company and the Company says you fight.”

“Nope, nope, can’t do that, violence is against the union morality clause, and the Company gave me this sword. I was under the impression we were here to intimidate delinquent payers, not murder people.”

“Well the Company has been hired to do this job, which involves murdering people, like in the good-old days. As employees, you all have to perform the work the Company has engaged in or you’ll be fired,” Misgov argued.

“No, there’s a whole section about subsidiaries in the contract which explains this,” Elias said. “Any work which the Company engages in that is against union policy cannot be undertaken by union employees, and our jobs shall not be at risk. You’ll need to hire independent contractors to do this work. Unionists hate, but we don’t kill.”

Favorite Novellas:
Bunker Bird by @RainerSalt
Atheist’s Angel by @Velfman
Morton Stark is Magic by @iwritesinnotnovels
Mobius by @taivaan_sininen


Some people just want to see the world burn


1. What is the tone of your story?
Romantic, breezy, chick-lit
2. Why is this the best tone for your story?
To show the chemistry between the two characters, and the heroine’s humor.
3. What was your protagonist’s biggest struggle in the opening 2000 words?
Should Kate trust her instincts on whether to kiss the guy who was her high school crush?
4. What is your protagonist’s biggest struggle going into the second half of your story?
Whether Kate should accept a marriage proposal from Damien, a man she adores. He is asking her to marry him so she can have much-needed health insurance.
5. Is there a secondary character who represents your protagonist’s failure state and one who represents the positive outcome of their arc? If so, how? (One sentence for each character?)
Secondary character who represents the heroine’s failure state is her best friend, a (seemingly) perfect social media influencer
6. Are you having fun? Why? (Two, baby. Go.)
OH YES. The events in this novella are the catalyst to my series, which I’ve been plotting for a long time
7. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your story?
The sweet and tender feelings the big, gruff hero has for the heroine.
8. What’s been the most challenging aspect up until now?
Balancing the sex with the rest of the story
9. One passage of dialogue that exemplifies your protagonist. (Max three sentences. No description, just pure dialogue – let it speak for itself.)
“How’d you know I like tacky pirate stuff?”
“That conversation we had the other day about the island pirate lore. You have an obsession with pirates.”
10. Other than yours, what’s your favorite ONC story so far? Why? (Three.)
@ThatWriterForBooks An Engagement Party, Please (Assistant to wedding planner doesn’t believe in love)
@Eastcoastgirrrl Blackout (I love anything about the 1977 NYC blackout)
@Olivaughn Candy Gram (Excellent opening line, great voice)


Thank you for the mention!


Aww ~ Thank you! There are so many awesome entries here, I’m really glad mine is one of your favorites :hearts:


I didn’t have as much time to write this weekend, but I managed to pass 10k words. I’m hoping that I can get to at least 15k next weekend, but I’m not too nervous about it. I hope everyone else is doing well!


Btw have you ever seen the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode with Manos, Hands of Fate?

Your book title reminded me of it and now that’s all I can think about.


Hi guys :two_hearts:

I have a question, please. Does the novella have to be complete before March 26 or just reaches the 20k milestone?


If I remember correctly, they only assess up to 20k words (whether it is complete or incomplete).


@LuliWrites and @Ellen_Reese The rules say (in the section after the contest) that we should have a complete novel by the end of ONC - of between 20 and 40k words.

Last year, the final five were all finished. They only assess 20k but as @authorhlumelo said in an earlier post, giving them the ending is a big advantage.

I’m rushing to finish mine. :sweat:


You’ve got time, though, don’t you? How much do you think you have left?


There are three near-universal truths to the Open Novella Contest:

  1. Someone is going to write the darkest story they’ve ever dared to put to paper.

  2. Someone is going to write a prequel.

  3. Most are going to attempt both.


@authorhlumelo I’ve 8 chapters left after tonight’s update.

But I can leave it at 15 and do the 5 remaining ones (which is about after the retreat) at a later date.

I mightn’t progress to round 3 anyway and not have to worry about being finished.

I’m sort of planning for all eventualities - like we’re doing with Brexit.

Are you ( or anyone else here apart from @TamaraLush) finished?


Not yet. I’m halfway, and I’ve had to set the story aside for a couple of weeks, although I enjoy occasionally going back to trim the prose and dialogue, sand down the paragraphs, polish the tone… It’s a good way to keep the story fresh until I can dedicate proper hours to it.

How long is your typical writing session, Mary?


17,326 words people!!! I’m ~3,000 words into reaching the mark, but I’m sure my book will be more than 20k as I see things progressing… I’ve updated two chapters today and might update the third one. By when is it that results are supposed to come out for round 2 qualifiers?


Week 11


thanks! and we are in week…?


Week 10, if calculations are correct. All the best for your story :slight_smile:


thanks again! and same to you! ^^


According to news, it’s a real mess with May offering sops to people to support the Brexit. How’s the real state of affairs in Britain?